Mar 25, 2015

Wisconsin Dead-Last for Middle Class; Outrage Grows over Dark Money

Wisconsin is worst among 50 states as middle class shrinks

"Wisconsin ranks worst among the 50 states in terms of a shrinking middle class, with real median household incomes here falling 14.7 percent since 2000, according to a new report," notes Mike Ivey in the Capital Times.

The Pew Report Ivey cites reports a declining Wisconsin economy made worse under Scott Walker as the Wisconsin brain drain—children fleeing the state looking for work—continues. (Murray, WTMJ; Mills, WPR)

"Youthoside," one Wisconsin grandparent tells me as younger generations appear to be targeted by Walker's policies for not voting for him. "Walker is killing our children's future for the benefit of special interests who fund his political campaigns."

The report of Wisconsin's shrinking middle class comes as Michael Isikoff's piece on John Menard Jr.'s $1.5 million dark money contribution to Walker's frontgroup, Wisconsin Club for Growth, was revealed this week.

Scott Walker's budget proposal provokes astonishment about where Walker's radical proposals attacking workers, education and the environment are coming from as Walker runs for president (Opoien, Captial Times). The answer is a few special interests looking out for themselves from whom Walker takes orders.

Walker's proposed radical demolishing of education and environmental protection are coming from billionaires' secret money directing Walker what to do.

"George Meyer, a former secretary of natural resources under Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, said the hardware baron [John Menard Jr. president of Menard Inc.] made no secret of his views on environmental enforcement. 'He told me he just didn’t believe in environmental regulations,' said Meyer. “He was upfront about it.'" (Democurmudgeon) quoting Michael Isikoff who broke the Menard dark money story.

Walker Statement on Pay to Play

Here's what Scott Walker had to say about John Menard Jr.'s secret contribution: "I haven't engaged in any of that and there's going to be lots of stories going forward," Walker said before walking away as an aide told reporters that he would not take questions. (AP, New York Times)

"When somebody says it’s not about the money, it’s about the money," warned the great journalist, H.L. Mencken, the Sage of Baltimore. Mencken's dose of common sense from the early 20th century fits Walker perfectly, the slippery man from Wisconsin who can't think on his feet.

Walker's confused statement on Menard's dark money contribution is similar to Walker's statement after the second John Doe II probe was reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in October 2013: "We expected that with a new Democrat candidate for governor in the race that there would be stories like this along the way," said Walker referring to Dan Bice's 2013 piece reporting law enforcement's probe of Walker and dark money, (Mal Contends) a probe Walker's allies are trying to kill at the Wisconsin Supreme Court. (Kilgore, Washington Monthly)

Boycotting Menard Inc. 

Menard Inc. is headquartered in Eau Claire, Wisconsin employing some 35,000 employees across the nation. (Reed Elsevier Inc.). Menard Inc is a privately and closely held S corporation, a subchapter S partnership (IRS), allowing profits to flow through to the partners without the corporation being taxed as a business entity. (Applebaum, New York Times)

Across Wisconsin, there is anger and a growing commitment to boycott Menard Inc., aka Menards.

"The corporations that show no civic responsibility and hide their actions from the press and public deserve no loyalty. Over the years I have shopped at the Menards Store and spent a bundle on home repair items. It stops today!," said writes a multi-generation Wisconsin family man. "If you are a corporation owner and truly believe in your political position, why not show it, why hide it from public view? On the other hand, if we, your customers, don't agree with your position is it not also correct that we show our displeasure?"

As John Menard Jr. prospers, other Wisconsin residents' grandchildren won't be living in Wisconsin long after they graduate from college.

One hopes the Republicans don't get their way and destroy Medicare and Social Security or the GOP's decimation of the older generations' earned benefits are going to resemble their grandchildrens'.

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